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Chapter 271 - Past and Present Fate (Part Three)
Black Robe looked at him, and then his voice penetrated through his hat, like a cold wind from the abyss. "You are prepared to go crazy?"
Su Li was silent for a while, then the smile returned to his face. "What use is there in worrying? And what good would going crazy do? What I should be doing is thinking of ways to live and escape. As long as I survive, then she will also definitely survive. If she can't, then it won't be too late for me to go crazy."
Black Robe was calm and gave no reply. He knew very well that those words were not a threat, but a calm statement of objective fact. If Su Li really did manage to escape this encirclement that the demons had planned for so long, then if his daughter really did die in the Garden of Zhou, he would definitely go completely mad. Not even the Demon Lord wished for such a chaotic sight.
"So I don't need to worry." Su Li raised up his eyes to stare into the deep night. "As long as I live, who amongst you dare to kill her?"
Black Robe chuckled, then said, "Logically, that's the case. But you know, from time to time, I like to do illogical things."
Su Li drew back his gaze, and calmly looked at him. "You're this world's most enigmatic figure, and also the most rational. I don't believe you would do such an irrational thing."
Black Robe calmly explained, "Because I have already promised another person that your daughter must die, so she must die."
Su Li paid attention to the fact that Black Robe had said there was only one person that he had promised to.
Black Robe did not directly answer his question. Slowly, he said, "In the past, the Longevity Sect drowned your true love to death in a cold pool of water. When you returned from the southern seas and learned of this matter, you went into a rage. With your sword, you burst into the Longevity Sect, and in one night, you killed seventeen elders of the Longevity Sect… Everyone knows about this matter, but whether it was your Mount Li Sword Sect's Sect Master, the Holy Maiden, or the Pope, even the Tianhai Empress; none of them could say anything. Because there was a reason for your rage, and furthermore, after you went mad, none of them could do anything to control you. They could only pretend that the incident never happened."
As Su Li thought of those matters of the past, his expression did not change, but his appearance seemed to grow more solitary.
Black Robe continued, "But did you ever think, even though these true experts said nothing and purposely forgot this matter, there were some very weak people that could not forget, who all this time wanted to make their voice heard? Those people that you killed, they also had descendants, those people were also the true loves of others."
Su Li was silent for a while, then suddenly said, "There's no need for you to abide by your promise, especially to a human."
The moment these words came out, the temperature of the snowy plain suddenly grew colder by several degrees.
Cold indicated that movement had stagnated, that the sword that traveled through the night had gotten somewhat slower.
It also indicated that with his daughter's life in grave peril, Su Li had begun to think of compromise and negotiation.
For Mount Li's Junior Martial Uncle who was well known for his wild nature to signify his willingness to negotiate, this was a huge concession.
And yet, his opponent was not willing to negotiate with him.
"As a schemer, I understand more than anyone else how important keeping a promise is, especially with humans. Only through this can I get more and more humans to believe me. From a certain perspective, my promises are extremely valuable, because they must inevitably be realized, and in addition, they represent Xuelao City's invitation to the entire world."
Black Robe calmly looked at him. "Of course, the most important matter is still to kill you. The dead have no way to go crazy."
The snow continued to fall and the cold night returned to normal. The mountainous figures of the Demon Generals slowly stopped around the perimeter.
In the night, there was the sound of an extremely sharp whistle of the sword.
Su Li patted his scabbard with his hand, and with a light shake of his sleeve, there was only a whistle that approached from the horizon. With a swish, his sword returned to his scabbard, carrying along with it an indescribable sense of confidence.
One of the dark figures on the perimeter began to slightly rock, as if it was a mountain about to collapse, but in the end, it managed to stabilize. Only the cold iron pike in his hands clattered to the ground, sliced in two.
When Su Li withdrew his sword from the night, he used the energy to also break the seventh Demon General's weapon, indicating just how indescribably powerful he was.
However, the Demon General showed no signs of shock, nor of anger. With a frigid voice, he declared, "Su Li, you will definitely die today."
Su Li looked at Black Robe and asked very seriously, "Will I truly die on this day?"
Black Robe replied, "Yes. We've calculated it thirty-seven times. Without a doubt, you will die."
At these words, Su Li was quiet for a very long time.
He wanted to hear Black Robe's answer, because he believed Black Robe would answer truthfully. However, this was not the answer he wanted to hear.
Whether it was the human Saint experts, or that husband and wife of White Emperor City; whether they were willing or not, they all had to admit to one thing.
After Wang Zhice had faded away, the person on the continent most skilled at scheming and calculation was the demon Military Advisor who cloaked himself in a black robe.
The plans created by Black Robe rarely ever failed. Those schemes which he personally took part in had never had a problem.
For example, the time when Emperor Taizong brought countless experts and millions of armored horsemen on a Northern Expedition against the demons. In the end, he was forced to turn back at Xuelao City with no achievements. This person was the Demon race's most accomplished minister.
It had been several hundred years since Black Robe had personally taken part in his plans to kill a human expert, until now.
He wanted to kill Su Li.
He had calculated it thirty-seven times that Su Li would die without a doubt.
It meant that perhaps Su Li really was going to die.
Su Li also thought this way, but he felt that it did not mean his death was certain. "To kill me, you did so many things. Just what was real and what was fake? Are you really planning to kill those children in the Garden of Zhou, or are you using it as a lure so that I would come and you could kill me? If even you aren't clear on that, then perhaps there's still a chance for me."
"It's all real, but it also could all be fake. But to kill you is the most real thing. Just like you said before, those young ones are the future of humanity. You are humanity's present. I am a vulgar person that lives in the moment, so the first thing I have to do is obviously to kill you."
Black Robe calmly continued, "Tianhai and the Pope, and the Holy Maiden, for the sake of humanity's future, have attempted to unite the north and the south. How is it that even up to now, they have met with no success? How could the south have held on until now? The reason lies not with the Longevity Sect, not with Scholartree Manor, but in you, Mount Li's Junior Martial Uncle Su Li. So, in what way can I not kill you?"
Su Li replied, "If I'm a dead man, the unification of humanity's north and south possesses not a single benefit for you demons."
Black Robe shook his head. "Not wanting to be annexed by the Zhou Dynasty, this is what many southerners think. You are only the southerner’s sharpest and strongest sword. Even if the sword is broken, the southerners won't change their minds. On the contrary, Tianhai will change her mind. In accordance with the woman's grand aspirations, if those aristocratic families no longer have you, when they resist the unification of the north and the south once again, she will inevitably bring her armies south and bring all of humanity under her rule. Only the unification of the north and south of that time will no longer rely on the great powers, but on the Zhou Dynasty's armored horsemen."'
Su Li had no response. This was an extremely probable scenario, up to the point that he could already clearly envision it.
"On that day, the human world would absolutely be thrown into chaos. Tianhai will bring her armies south, His Majesty will bring his armies south. The south, ah the south… ever onwards to the south. From this cold and snow-filled world to the warm ground illuminated by the sun, that will be a journey filled with corpses and blood. I don't know who will be the final victor, but this is my most desired result."
Black Robe calmly looked at him. "So, please go to the starry sky and reunite with your family. Many years later, when you overlook this war-torn world with dead dragons and an extinct humanity, please remember to say hello to me."
Standing at the edge of the cliff, her hands held behind her, she stared at the silky strands of the clouds. The cold wind cut like a knife, but it was unable to scrape away the exhaustion on that white-clothed young lady's face.
With two days of no sleep and no rest, rushing around the Garden of Zhou saving others while successively using the extremely draining Sacred Light technique, even someone like her should be feeling tired.
Exhaustion was not anything to be afraid of. What she was afraid of was that wariness in the depths of her heart.
The sound of the zither, the tree behind her, as well as the space that enveloped the entire mountain path, made her feel that there was something extremely dangerous out there.
Since childhood, she had cultivated the Dao. Ever since her blood had awakened, this had been the greatest danger she had ever perceived.
She did not have any specific reason. She did not know who was waiting for her at the end of the path, nor did she know for what purpose her opponent had used so much mental strength to design this space to cut her off from the Garden of Zhou.
However, she knew that she should probably break this space.
There was no reason to do it, but she did not need a reason. Since her opponent had trapped her in a prison, and she wanted to destroy the plan, then of course she should destroy this space her opponent had designed for her.
She brought her finger up to her lips and lightly bit down on it. Then, she realized that she hadn't broken the skin, so she could not help but feel a little embarrassed.
Afterwards, she forcefully bit down, and her slender eyebrows twisted in pain.
As she looked at the beads of blood coming out of her fingertip, she frowned in displeasure.
She disliked the pain, and much less to wound herself.
She placed her hand in the air over the abyss at the edge of the path.
A dark red bead of blood dripped down from her finger and fell towards the wispy clouds below.
As they fell, the drops of blood began to change color. They grew increasingly red and splendorous. They continued to grow brighter, until at the very end, they had become gold.
They were like drops of melted gold. Within, they concealed an unimaginable power.
The temperature around the mountain suddenly began to rise. The shallow layer of frost that had just covered the stone surface suddenly evaporated. That lonely tree became even more withered.
The weeds that had grown up with much difficulty in the seams of the cliff instantly burned to ash.
The golden drop of blood fell down upon the clouds.
There was only a whoosh.
A light began to erupt from the clouds. Those clouds were like cotton that had suddenly been set on fire.
A massive fire suddenly blazed up amongst the mountain range, turning the dark night into day.
A single drop of blood had brought about such a magnificent sight.
Was this the power of the Heavenly Phoenix's true blood?
Seeing the newly lit up mountain range, her face was filled with satisfaction, but in the next moment, her brow creased once more.
Biting open her own finger truly was a bit painful.
She brought her finger in front of her mouth and began to lightly blow on it, seemingly very focused.
At the same time, she mumbled to herself as if she were coaxing a child, "Doesn't hurt......doesn't hurt......it doesn't hurt, good."
From the day he entered Mount Li to learn the sword, Su Li's fate had been decided. He wanted to protect this peak as well as the entire south. So even if he spent the vast majority of his time wandering the four seas, he would always come back to Mount Li every so often to prove to the Empress in the capital and to the demons even further north that that iron sword was still there.
From the day her blood had awakened, her fate had also been decided. She wanted to protect the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green, protect the Eastern Divine General's Mansion, the Imperial Palace and the Li Palace. Now she had added on the Holy Maiden Peak. The things she wanted to protect were truly too many. In reality, they all pointed without a doubt towards that final goal of protecting all of humanity.
How to protect it? On what grounds should she protect it? The most important, or even the sole reason was of course the fact that within her body flowed the true blood of the Heavenly Phoenix. For this reason, all people doted upon her, or revered her, or placed endless hopes and expectations on her. However, no one knew that there were times when she really did not like the fact that within her body flowed that blood.
That blood was too pure, too sacred, so in everyone's eyes, she was also pure and sacred. As a result, she, a person of the Zhou, born in the capital, able to become the successor of Holy Maiden Peak. However, she had never thought of herself as a pure and sacred young lady. The entire continent called her "Phoenix", but she felt that a more appropriate title would be "Vulgar".
She creased her eyebrows and blew on her finger as she watched the faintly discernible outlines of demon horns in the blazing clouds. She thought to herself, "If I wasn't afraid of pain, perhaps I really would try and find some way of pouring out all this blood until there was nothing left." But would it be okay for there to be no blood? There was no way, so she could continue to be afraid of pain with a clear conscience. If this was to be her fate, then she should continue forward and see, and talk about it then.
The clouds had burned into nothingness, leaving only the sky. The cliffs returned to darkness, but it seemed lighter than before. It gave one a feeling of safety.
She continued forward along the mountain path.
For some people, their fate was not decided at birth, or when their blood was awakened, or when they entered the tutelage of some expert or sect.
Somewhat sorrowfully, and prone to bring about an indescribable anger in them, was that their fate was decided by the fate of others.
At the peak that was at the end of this path was the legendary Sunset Valley, the true Sunset Valley.
If someone sat there, he would be able to see the mystical design of suspended light over the plain.
A little girl sat at the edge of the cliff, calmly looking at the plain below. In her indifferent, wooden eyes, there was no emotion.
She was called Nanke.
She was the Demon Lord's thirty-seventh daughter.
When she was born, the Demon Lord was extremely happy, because her body possessed the bloodline of the Peacock. So he gave her the name of "Nanke".
(TL: 南客 (Nan ke) is another name for the peacock.)
Nanke was a Peacock.
At that time, her fate should have been to be doted upon by her royal father, then becoming the pride of the entire Demon race.
However, when she was one year old, the blood of a girl in the south awakened, and she began to cultivate the Dao.
In comparison, she fell short.
Let alone the fact that she was of the imperial family.
Thus, pride became shame, and even humiliation.
From that point on, her fate had been decided.
To be victorious over her, or to kill her.